gold nomad children of gilgit-baltistan

Nomad Sonewal children play along the Hunza river in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, where their families have settled for the spring. For centuries, the Sonewals have lived in small tents along the route of the old silk road in the Karakorum mountains. As the seasons change, the Nomads migrate up and down the glacial valleys searching for gold.

Panning for gold in the Gilgit and Hunza river is the only source of income as many members of the Sonewal tribe are illiterate. The isolated region, lifestyle challenges and limited return on hard labor, mean that the nomads are the only people continuing the gold mining tradition in the Karakorum mountains.  However, this may change.

The development of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a Chinese effort to modernize Pakistan’s infrastructure and economy, may connect the children of the Karakoram to other regions of the world. The children are not attending school and spend their days helping their parents. Will the modernization effort change the nomadic traditions and will it bring opportunities for education?